|Eric Saxton enjoys a moment with friends.|
|David Shabat raises $600|
Needless to say after that everything else that happened that day was gravy or icing or whatever your favorite topping is. We rode out together with a ton of fellow cyclists and headed for the days adventures. Our route was destined to be a brutal assault on our legs. We headed north toward Dahlonega and beyond. See if you can follow this; Yahoola Valley - R-Ranch - Stone Pile - Woodies Gap - Wolf Pen Gap - Neels Gap - Turners Corner - Stone Pile, Left - Right before Dahlonega - Past Lumpkin Co. High - Rolling back to Dawsonville. Hurt me very much. It was a pleasure riding with the ISI Cycling guys. They are great. Very supportive of each other and the group. One neat thing they do is to hold the bottle out so everyone knows they're drinking. That way the other riders are on alert in case he drops the bottle.
|ISI Cycling - Iron Sharpens Iron|
|David and Benny|
The route took us over hill and dale onto one lane roads that I'm quite sure were only paved this year. As we rode I couldn't shake the feeling I'd been on these roads before. There were no lines painted. No open stretches for you to see around the corners. Just curvy little jungle road surrounded by mountains. Then I saw the first sign for Montaluce Winery. I raced here for two days a few years ago. It was hard! I suddenly knew the meaning of the phrase Ignorance is Bliss. We were in for a really hard ride and now I really new it.
Another person I enjoyed seeing was Kelly Parham; the Man, the Myth, the Legend. He drove the SAG vehicle and looked out for us 100 milers. Kelly didn't have a bell to ring for us on the climbs so he just jingled his keys. At the top of each climb he had food and water. Well, not just water but Accelerade Sports Drink and I loved it! He also had gels and bars but what I especially enjoyed were the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies! I couldn't resist them! And they are so bad for you!? What was I thinking? I dared not read the box. Anyway, we made it around the GAP's and after stopping on top of Blood Mountain we headed down for a great smooth and fast decent to Turner's Corner. By the time we made our way from there to Dahlonega I was feeling the effects of 5 hours in the saddle and decided to eat one of the two double caffeine gels I'd put in my jersey before we left the parking lot. That pepped me up but at the same time I started to become aware of the small cramps coming into the back of my legs. My time was running out. It was 95 degrees by then. So I went into damage control mode. We stopped at a convenience store in Dahlonega where my old high school friend Tim Evans, of Hall Co. Chamber of Commerce fame, suggested we buy a gallon of water and some sports drink and split it. I had my trusty Polar bottles and filled one with water and the other with orange drink. My plan was to drink the orange and spray the water on my head and neck. And a lovely plan it turned out to be.
We came across another SAG with 9 miles to go and I did the same thing. After leaving the SAG there was a climb that normally wouldn't be to bad. My legs began to cramp. Then my mind flashed back to the Giro d' Italia where I remembered seeing a rider spray water from his bottle directly on his legs. As I rode I thought about trying it. I thought, "What if it makes my legs seize up?", "What if the cold water freaks out my knees?", "What if my legs turn to dust and I'm left just sitting here coming to a slow stop and then falling over?" Man, when you're tired your mind can really wander. Anyway, I did it. It felt great! Very refreshing. And it lasted a long while before I felt the effects go away. So damage control included spraying my legs as well.
My good friend David, who was just as tired but wasn't cramping, took up the lead, lowered his head, and hammered out 9 miles of hills. He kept me in the draft and brought me home. My friend...David Shabat.
We rolled triumphantly into the parking lot amidst the cheers and adoration of the ten or so volunteers sitting under a canopy tent. Eric was one of those people. He looked tired. Suddenly I didn't feel so tired. I felt...impacted.
I don't have that answer. And I'll be 40 years old next month. But what I do have is a guide and a foundation. I may not know what to do all the time but at least I know what not to do. I've been forced to realize that I can't control every aspect of my life. I can't lean on my own understanding. Bad things happen to good people. It sucks. So...I can either choose to be a jerk about life...or I can punch the devil in the face with my faith.
Thanks for reading and if you were a part of this or any other charity event I'd like to say in my most southern voice "Bless your heart." It was a wonderful time for a great cause and you just can't beat that with a stick!